In case you didn't hear, Oklahoma visits South Bend this week. Not that it has much to do with this week's topics for discussion.
On to the questions:
1. The NCAA announced this week that they would reduce the sanctions on the Penn State football program due to good behavior. Thoughts?
I guess according to the NCAA, the "good behavior" displayed over the past year or so is supposed to make up for the complete lack of institutional control over their football program for a decade plus.
Good job, good effort NCAA. You are terrible.
2. EA Sports announced on settlement on Thursday for using player likenesses in the NCAA Football and Basketball franchises. What is the long-term impact of this settlement?
The first result (that was announced before the settlement) is that EA Sports would discontinue making the popular series.
The details of the settlement, including the total amount or possible admission of wrongdoing by EA Sports, have not yet been announced. It is also unclear if current players will be allowed to accept settlement checks and retain their amateur status.
Clearly, the biggest impact that this settlement could have on the collegiate sport landscape is the potential influence on the O'Bannon case against the NCAA. We have discussed this a bit on OFD before, but that case has to potential to drastically change college sports as we know it today by allowing players to be compensated for the use of their image or likeness.
Players across the country are already labeling parts of their uniform with "APU"-which stands for All Players United-and may be the first signs of the potential unionization (and collective bargaining) of college athletes.
Recently, NCAA president Mark Emmert announced that big changes are coming in the near future. Taking the EA Sports settlement, O'Bannon case, APU and Emmert's comments all into account, it is clear that some form of additional compensation is on its way for scholarship athletes. How this gets implemented (revenue sports vs. nonrevenue sports, Title IX implications, conference affiliations, etc.) is still quite a mystery, but will ultimately widen the gap between the haves and have-nots.
While the long-term impact is unknown, we may look back at this settlement in a few years' time and realize this was the first concrete step towards the seemingly inevitable change.
3. A green -out is scheduled for this weekend's match-up against Oklahoma. Several thousand green pom-poms will be handed out. Thoughts?
Hopefully this effort is a bit more successful than previous ones. I can't imagine the pom-poms will do much for anyone over the age of 8 or any males in attendance. I don't think you can manufacture a good game day environment/stadium noise. It has to be organic. The crowd has to want to be there.
On the other hand, pom poms are probably a whole lot better than green vuvuzelas.
4. The college football coaching carousel is already getting warmed up for December. Give me five programs who will be looking for a new head coach and a possible candidate for each.
Where to begin? How about with the obvious:
Head Coaches Getting Canned
Nebraska - Bo don't know what the Cornhusker fanbase is all about. Scott Frost (current Oregon OC and former Nebraska QB) should be at the top of their list.
Texas - Mack Brown will likely be shown the door with any result short of running the table this year. I am still not sure that a Big XII title can save his job. The Longhorn fan base wants Saban. They won't get him. If I were running the show in Austin, I think I would take a look and see if Al Golden were interested and available.
Head Coaches Leaving for the NFL
Texas A&M-I think some team will come calling for Kevin Sumlin after this season, and he takes the big payday. I really don't see him staying at TAMU long term. Possible replacements: Art Briles (#FUNDAMENTALS), Kliff Kingsbury.
UCLA-Who doesn't doubt that Jim Mora wants to go back to the No Fun League? He turned the Bruin program into a contender in the Pac 12 and darkhorse for a BCS birth. Not sure who they would look at as a replacement, but they would probably kick the tires on Gus Malzahn or Pat Fitzgerald (if either were interested).
Stanford-I think this is the year that Shaw bolts. Maybe it is just wishful thinking, but I am pretty sure they lose a lot of starters/contributors due to graduation after this year. Their roster lists 37 seniors or 5th year seniors. Yikes. I would guess they would try to promote from within (again) rather than search for a candidate at large-probably DC Derek Mason.
5. An interesting article came out this week about Brian Kelly and his knack for winning close football games. Comments?
Dating back to a 15-12 win over Pittsburgh in September 2011, Notre Dame is 10-1 in the last 11 contests decided by a touchdown or less. That is pretty impressive.
Also, a bit scary-but only because 11 of the last 27 games have been decided by 7 points or less. That is just a bit over 40% of the games.
It would be nice to see Notre Dame win a few more game per season by a comfortable margin, but these games are the kind that the Irish lost under previous head coaches.
A win is a win, and as a fan I will take them any way they come.